So you need a root canal, huh? Root canals are one of the most misunderstood dental treatments. If you’ve heard that you are in need of this procedure, you’re probably a little scared about what it will consist of. There are many common myths and misconceptions about what a root canal actually is and how painful it would be. Here is everything you need to know about a root canal:
What is a root canal?
To understand root canal myths, you must first understand what a root canal is. A root canal, also known as an endodontic treatment, is needed when there is an infection deep in the roots of your teeth. This can be incredibly painful and problematic for your oral health, and if not treated can even lead to the loss of the tooth. A root canal involves cleaning out the inside of a root, particularly the roots, and then capping it off with a dental crown. Root canals are a form of restorative dentistry intended to save your natural tooth if possible.
If you’ve ever heard of a root canal, you’re likely under the impression that they are incredibly painful. Maybe you’ve heard that it’s just better to pull the tooth out entirely. Some people are even under the impression that root canals cause harmful illnesses and complications. All of these misconceptions date back to early root canals, that were performed before the science was perfected. To better understand the procedure, it is important to debunk a lot of the commonly believed myths surrounding it:
Root Canals are not Painful
This is the absolute biggest misunderstanding about the root canal procedure. When your teeth are rotting or decaying, you will experience pain from the infection. This is the most amount of pain you will feel when it comes to root canals. Decades ago, dental technology was obviously not as evolved as it is now. Because of this, treatments as a whole were a lot more painful and uncomfortable. Today, when you get a root canal, modern anesthesia will guarantee that you feel almost nothing.
Part of modern dentistry is effective pain management. This can be through sedation dentistry or simply numbing the area, depending on where you get the procedure done. The moral of the story, however, is that you will not feel anything. In fact, if all goes well, a root canal should actually relieve the pain that you are feeling from the decay and infection that has developed.
You’ll Know if You Need a Root Canal
Because a dead, diseased, or infected tooth sounds painful, many people are under the impression that it will be obvious if they need a root canal. This is simply not the case. Sometimes, a dead tooth will cause you no pain at all. In some cases, a fistula (or a pimple like growth) will appear on the gums and drain pus from the diseased tooth. When a fistula is present, there is usually less pain and pressure around the area.
Because of the subtle nature of infections, it is important to come see us regularly. You may have an infected or even dead tooth and not even know.
It is Not Better to Just Pull the Tooth
If your tooth is that infected, many people think it is way simpler to just pull it out. This is not the case. If at all possible, it is always important to preserve your natural teeth. This is for a wide variety of reasons. When you lose a tooth, your other teeth and your jawbone can suffer. The teeth around the missing tooth can begin to move and shift. This means that your smile can start to look crooked and your bite will no longer be aligned. Additionally, the jaw bone beneath the missing tooth can begin to deteriorate. All in all, pulling a tooth instead of getting a root canal can be more problematic and painful in the long run than just getting the procedure.
You Will Not Get Sick From a Root Canal
There is an old and disproven study from many years ago that linked root canals to other illnesses and disease such as heart and kidney disease as well as arthritis. This study has no valid science to back it up and has been refuted again and again. In fact, root canals can actually help keep your mouth healthier and in turn, prevent more serious diseases from developing and spreading throughout the body.
Overall, there are many misconceptions about root canals that are in no way based in fact and are simply not true. A root canal can help save your tooth and prevent a wide variety of health issues from plaguing your mouth. If you have any questions about this procedure, feel free to contact our office.